Stage Beyond Borders

DirectorAt Device

Studio DeviceClient  Japan FoundationMy role   DirectionYear  2021
At Device, I had the opportunity to lead my first project with ‘Stage Beyond Borders', which still ranks among my favorites. This initiative of the Japan Foundation aimed to showcase the extensive variety and richness of Japanese performing arts. My journey started with the research phase, where I delved into the movements and unique languages of performances like Butoh, Kabuki, and Noh. This exploration was to accurately recognize and differentiate the essence of each style, ensuring we stayed true to the essence of both traditional and contemporary arts.

Working for the Japan Foundation was an especially exciting endeavor for me, partly because it involved bringing Louis Wes' illustrations to life.

Original Kabuki sketch by Louis Wes

Original Butoh sketch by Louis Wes
In the storyboarding phase, my focus was on seamless character transitions. It was important for these transitions to feel natural and flow directly from the characters’ movements.  Balancing Louis’s distinct geometric illustrations with the fluidity of performing arts we aimed to maintain the simplicity and appeal of his style while injecting life into these illustrations through animation.

Our team at Device employed traditional frame-by-frame animation to achieve these delicate transitions and to break away from the rigidity of the drawings, infusing them with much more volume. By exaggerating the key positions of the transitions and emphasizing elements closer to the camera, we were able to bring a dynamic and three-dimensional quality to the animations. This technique not only enhanced the visual appeal but also added a sense of depth to each scene.

Rough and clean animation comparisson




Art DirectorLouis Wes

Executive ProducerMarcello Buselli
ProducerTamara Sefcovicova

DirectorEster Dus

Additional IllustrationAlba Prado

Lead AnimationIsrael Giampietro
AnimationKarla Cuba, Ester Dus

Clean UpKarla Cuba, Ester Dus

CompositingEster Dus

Music & Sound DesignRaül Peix